Philippe Senderos

Philippe Senderos

Positive Futures

A group of youngsters who participate in Arsenal’s Positive Futures initiative recently met Gunners defender Philippe Senderos after watching the team train at the Club’s new home, Emirates Stadium.

The pictured youngsters take part in weekly soccer sessions on the Market Estate, Islington, run by Young Person’s Community Sports Worker, Tony David (pictured far right) and his assistant, Dean Miller (pictured far left).

Senderos, who recently returned from the World Cup in Germany, where he featured for the Swiss national team said: “It was great to train at Emirates Stadium today and have participants from the Positive Futures scheme here to watch us.  It’s a great opportunity for them to take a look at the stadium and put the Arsenal initiative into context and reward them for their hard work with Tony.”

The Positive Futures initiative works with young people from local estates to engage them through sport and provide them with football training. The aim of the project is to have a positive influence on the young people it works with through building trust between Positive Futures staff and the participants in the sessions.

Arsenal Positive Futures started in January 2004 on Market and Harvest Estates with football activities for young people aged 10-19 years. Very quickly the project expanded to Andover and Six Acres Estates and has now included Ringmere and Bavaria as part of its core programme.

The Arsenal Positive Futures League that has been established is a particular attraction for youngsters who have been formed into teams to represent their estates as part of the projects development. This highlights the useful way that football can bring together young people from different parts of the borough.

The groups have experienced trips to Highbury to watch their heroes play and regularly take part in competitions in the 02 Sports Centre. Some of these have resulted in the presentation of medals and certificates at half time of Arsenal First Team games.

In May the project took part in a successful trip to Barcelona where the group played a series of matches and had the opportunity to experience a different culture. A school from Wales joined the Islington group and many friendships were formed between the two sets of young people.

As a way of engaging the 16-19 year-old age group an Entry 2 Employment scheme has been set up which offers education, training and employment opportunities. Each course will last for a period of 22 weeks and participants will be given the opportunity to gain relevant qualifications along with a personal plan of their individual development.

A focused piece of work with Project 16 and the Complimentary Education Centre highlights the way a football club can support the efforts of education.

This is a joint initiative between Arsenal FC, Springboard Islington and CEA at Islington. It offers year 10 and 11 pupils who have become disengaged from school through poor or non attendance, an alternative education programme. Arsenal and football are used to motivate and re-engage the youngsters and encourage them to move into education, training or work. The programme began in September 2001, and is preparing to induct its fifth cohort in July 2005. Since its inception the project has positively worked with over 50 young people. This year’s students have achieved over 80% attendance with a large proportion of the group attending over 90%. They have recorded impressive GCSE entries with 12 of the group of 16 entered for 1 and 7 entered for two exams. Along with GCSE’s students undertake courses in Information Technology, First Aid, Health an safety, Basic/Key Skills and PSHE - which is based on citizenship, social skills, drug awareness and sexual health.

[ Monday, August 01, 2005]

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